• North Carolina law requires all passengers in a vehicle to buckle up.
  • North Carolina law states that DRIVERS ARE LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THEMSELVES AND ALL CHILDREN LESS THAN AGE 16 in the vehicle.  Passengers age 16 and older are legally responsible for themselves.
  • North Carolina law requires children to use a car seat or booster seat until they are at least 8 years old or 80 pounds-whichever comes first-and the vehicle seat belt fits properly on its own.
  • North Carolina law states that placing the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the back is both illegal and unsafe.
  • North Carolina law requires children less than age 5 and less than 40 pounds to be in the rear seat if the vehicle has an active passenger-side front air bag.
  • Keep children under age 13 in a rear seat of the vehicle and choose the best protection for a child based on his or her age, height, and weight, by following these steps:
  1. Rear-Facing Car Seats-Keep children rear-facing as long as possible or up to 2 years old or until he/she reaches highest height or weight limit of the car seat, which depends upon the car seat manufacturer.  Children are 5 times safer riding rear-facing than forward-facing.  Many current car seats can-and should- be used rear-facing up to at least 30-40 pounds.
  2. Forward-Facing Car Seats-When a child has outgrown his rear-facing seat (by weight or height), and if he is at least 1 year old, he may ride in a forward-facing harnessed car seat until the harness is outgrown.  Forward-facing harnessed car seats can accommodate children up to 40-90 pounds or more-depending upon the car seat model.
  3. Booster Seats-When the forward-facing harnessed seat is outgrown (by weight or height), a booster seat may be used.  The child must be over 40 pounds.  NC State Law mandates that a child ride in a booster seat until he is 8 years of age or 80 pounds-whichever comes first.  Many booster seats have weight limits reaching up to 120 pounds.
  4. Vehicle Seat Belts-Do not take a child out of a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle safety belt fits correctly without the booster seat-typically around 4′ 9″ tall, over 80 pounds, and between the age of 8 and 12.


Rutherford County currently has 3 Permanent Checking Stations: Rutherford Regional Medical Center, Spindale Fire Department and Forest City Fire Department.  These PCS’s are designed to assist drivers with correct installation of car seats and help them understand children’s vehicle safety needs, based on their age, weight, height, and developmental stages.  The goal is to make sure children leave safer than when they arrived! Individual car seat inspections and help with installation is available by a CPS Technician free of charge BY APPOINTMENT ONLY Monday through Friday.  View our CPS Technician List to locate and call a technician closest to you.


Rutherford County participates in the North Carolina Child Passenger Safety Diversion Program.  If you have received a ticket for not having a child restrained properly, you may be eligible to have your ticket dropped by attending a diversion class:

  • Obtain the correct child restraint for your child AND USE IT PROPERLY.
  • Call 828-286-5496 to schedule an appointment for the class. Appointments are only scheduled for the 2nd Monday of each month between 5:00 and 6:00 P.M. or according to the availability of designated technicians.
  • Arrive at your appointment on time with your child, vehicle, correct child restraint, ticket, and driver’s license.  You MUST bring all 5 of these things to your appointment-NO EXCEPTIONS!  At the end of your appointment, you will be given proper documentation to take to court on your designated court date to have your ticket considered to be dropped by the DA’s office.